The Surge
September 10, 2007

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(John Moore/Getty Images)

Laura Gets Surgery. You Paid For It. Think She’ll Pay For Your Operation?
September 9, 2007

Isn’t it wonderful that Laura Bush was able to get an operation to cure a painful pinched nerve in her neck? America truly is a land of equality and opportunity.

Or…

Laura Bush, rich and powerful, had surgery for pinched nerves. American taxpayers, forty-seven million of whom can’t afford medical care, paid for Mrs. Bush’s surgery.

Meanwhile, her husband, the President of the United States, has vowed to veto a bill extending health care to millions of American children.

Mr. and Mrs. Bush are Republicans.

At Long Last The FDA Might Get To Regulate A Drug – If The Republicans Let Them
August 2, 2007

The Food and Drug Administration, which, according to unconfirmed rumors, regulates medical drugs and other ingestibles in the United States, may actually get to regulate tobacco products.

According to a story in the Globe today by Diedtra Henderson the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee endorsed a bill to give the FDA broad authority over tobacco products. The vote was 13 – 8.

I’m guessing the 8 were Republicans.

The legislation…languished during Republican-majority rule of the US House and Senate, unable to get time on a committee calendar and thwarted when passed from the floor.

What’s at stake here?

  • Ending tobacco ads aimed at children
  • Blocking the sale of candy-flavored cigarettes to children
  • Putting a dent in the 20% of American deaths annually caused by tobacco use – that’s 440,000 people every year
  • Reducing the $167 billion annual healthcare cost of tobacco use

Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina tried, unsuccessfully, to bury the bill in amendments, and will try to stall the bill when it hits the Senate floor.

(Burr) also chastised the excise tax increase as a mechanism to fund children’s healthcare and expand FDA staffing sufficiently to regulate tobacco.

“The honey pot right now is tobacco excise taxes. The fact is, they’ll find – if they implement those – that there will be a reduction in tobacco usage,” Burr said in a recent interview. He said the move would imperil state budgets that rely on tobacco taxes to ease shortfalls.

Republican values:

  • Children’s healthcare is wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • Regulating a product that kills nearly half a million people a year is wrong, wrong, wrong.
  • Government should pay for itself by taxing a product that costs $167 billion a year in healthcare.

Two core Republican values therefore are:

  1. Killing people
  2. Profiting financially from killing people

And the fundamental Republican value is, of course, say it with me now – Money is the root of all Republican values.

Bush Vows To Kill American Children
July 31, 2007

For context, remember the remark, widely reported elsewhere, that Bush made recently when talking about his planned veto of a federal children’s health care plan:

“People have access to health care in America,” he told an audience in Cleveland. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

Obviously this is another example of Bush living in his tiny world of delusions and deliberate ignorance. He has no clue about the real world. None.

But the saga continues.

Keep in mind that, according to an article in USA Today by Julie Appleby, the average cost for a family health insurance policy topped $10,000 for the first time this year.

Democrats in Congress and a few sane Republicans are trying to increase the funding of the SCHIP program that provides health care for uninsured children of the working poor and lower middle class.

The Senate’s plan provides $35 billion over five years, the House $50 billion over five years.

John Donnelly writes in the Globe today that:

Bush, however has vowed to veto either plan, saying that the new coverage would encourage people to leave their private insurers for a government-run program.

No, George, they are not leaving private insurers. They can’t afford private insurance. Fewer and fewer families can afford private insurance, but George wouldn’t actually admit that because the insurance companies, among other corporate thieveries, keep him and his cronies afloat in politics.

Bush of course gets support from the rabid right wing Republicans in this sort of willfully ignorant and blindly ideological thinking. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Jr, a man who positively slobbers the wingnut virus, said:

“It will significantly increase taxes. . . and lead to a government-run health insurance.”

Well, no, the increase won’t be significant. A couple of months of the money wasted in Iraq would take care of it, if you would care to give up that miserably misbegotten adventure, Mitch. And we have government-run health insurance already, Mitch. It’s called MediCare, and it’s doing a good job, Mitch, and would be doing a better job if you maddog Republicans would keep your hands off and stop treating it as a cash cow for the drug companies that pump money into rabid Republican campaigns.

Just how disconnected and delusional the Republicans are comes clear in remarks by Elizabeth Dole, Republican Senator from North Carolina:

Senator Dole. . . called the legislation “not only the right policy, but it’s the right thing to do.” Nevertheless, she said the cigarette tax increase to pay for it was all wrong, predicting that her home-state tobacco industry “may collapse altogether” if the Senate passes the bill.

As an ex-smoker, let me ask why that would be a bad thing, Libby. Tobacco kills over 400,000 people a year in this country alone, and costs tens and tens of billions of dollars in health care. I think Libby’s logic is that we have to take care of children’s health so the tobacco companies will have someone to kill when the children grow up.

So, in essence, Bush, mass murderer supreme, the great killer of Arabs and Muslims and people stupid enough to get entangled in the Texas legal system, now vows to bring his murderous ways to the children of America by making sure they don’t get health care, by making sure they get sick and can’t afford doctors and hospitals.

The man just loves to kill, and he’s bringing it on home to ordinary Americans so they can participate in his vision of a brave new world of Republicanism.

Does the country proud, doesn’t it?

Bush Vetoes Health Insurance For Children
July 16, 2007

From Paul Krugman’s column, reprinted in full over at Common Dreams:

Being without health insurance is no big deal. Just ask President Bush. “I mean, people have access to health care in America,” he said last week. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

This is what you might call callousness with consequences. The White House has announced that Mr. Bush will veto a bipartisan plan that would extend health insurance, and with it such essentials as regular checkups and preventive medical care, to an estimated 4.1 million currently uninsured children. After all, it’s not as if those kids really need insurance – they can just go to emergency rooms, right?

Let us hope that the Republicans are wheezing on a respirator while they circle the drain and their health insurance is about to be canceled.

American Children Sick and Getting Sicker
June 27, 2007

In the Globe today Angela Zimm of Bloomberg News reports on a fourfold increase in chronic illness among American children since their parents’ childhood.

Doctors and public health officials should be bracing for a wave of chronically ill young adults with weight-related ailments that include diabetes and heart disease, researchers said. In 1960, just 1.8 percent of American children and adolescents were reported to have a chronic health condition that limited their activities. In 2004, the rate rose to 7 percent.

The article notes the following:

  • White children have the highest rate of diabetes
  • Children with serious illness are now more likely to die at home
  • 18 percent of U.S. children are obese, up from 5 percent in 1974
  • 9 percent have asthma, twice the rate in the 1980s
  • ADHD is at 6 percent

Genes may play a role in obesity, asthma, and ADHD, but environmental and social changes are behind the surge, researchers said. Modern life has brought more fast-food, increased time spent indoors watching television or playing on the computer, and dwindling community and family support.

Obviously this is a terrorist plot, sponsored by al Qaeda and all the other enemies the Bush people keep drumming into our heads while they waste hundreds of billions of dollars fighting bogus wars abroad and cutting the legs out of social and health programs at home that would benefit situations like the one described in this article.

Best nation in the world? Nope, not by a long shot.

Fourteen U.S. Soldiers Killed in 48 Hours, But That’s A Good Thing…
June 22, 2007

From the New York Times News Service today:

Fourteen Americans were killed in combat in five events, most in Baghdad, in a 48-hour period ending yesterday, the US military announced.

Now don’t get upset, folks, nothing to worry about. Remember, Little Georgie said things would get bloody over there as we made progress, so we must be making pretty good progress, don’t ya think?

We should feel cheered when American soldiers and Iraqi civilians and women and children are slaughtered. It means things are getting oh so much better. Little Georgie says so from his nice, safe perch in the White House.

Hell, I think things would be even better were he to get a nice perch in The Hague.

And golly gee, those seven kids we murdered in Afghanistan last week must be proof of how well that war is going, hey? Yowsah, yowsah, yowsah!

Eldest Children Smarter? What About Only Children, Huh?
June 22, 2007

A major Norwegian study found that children raised as the eldest in a family have statistically higher IQs than the rest of the brood. Doesn’t matter if you are actually the oldest kid, just that you’re raised as if you were.

Fine.

But what about us only kids? There’s no mention of us in there. Slighted again. Are we a lot smarter, or are we just average because we’re the oldest and the youngest and the middle kid?

I’m going to go picket a scientist until I get a study done on us.